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16 Best Waterfalls in Virginia for a Splendid Vacation

By | Last Updated : 21st July 2021

Virginia is a paradise for nature lovers and avid hikers. The waterfalls here are hard to miss if you are seeking a combination of nature and adventure. Most of them require a moderate to difficult level hike, which is well worth the spectacular falls. Even if you prefer a less-hiked waterfall without compromising the beauty, you’ll find some here. Gushing in various heights, from tall drops to small cascades, they are all impressive throughout the year. In addition, the forest settings and mountain backdrops will keep you busy in capturing pictures in your camera or just observing and appreciating its beauty.

Waterfalls in Virginia

Waterfalls in Northern Virginia

1. Statons Creek Falls

Statons Creek Falls Northern Virginia

This mighty waterfall gushes from a height of 140 feet in multiple cascades, accessible all year round. You can easily spot it once you reach the parking lot near Route 633. After a short walk from here, you will see the picturesque waterfall from the upper portion. Make sure not to attempt going to its base as it can be pretty dangerous. An afternoon picnic with your family here would be an ideal way to spend time. However, if you wish to explore further, you can visit the 10 feet tall Panther Falls, which also has a swimming hole and is about 10 miles away.

Nearest City: About 13 miles from Montebello

Hiking & Other Activities: The waterfall requires a short hike of less than a mile. You can also enjoy a picnic and nature gazing here.

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2. White Oak Falls

White Oak Falls Northern Virginia

This waterfall at Shenandoah National Park cascades from the White Oak Canyon in two parts- the Upper and the Lower. To get to the upper falls, you need to hike a challenging Whiteoak Canyon Trail for about 2.5 miles. Though a strenuous hike, you can pause from time to time to admire the six waterfalls on the way. In the end, prepare to be amazed by the sight of the 86 feet Upper Falls from the ledge viewpoint.

Taking the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, you can also get to the base of the Lower falls by hiking for 1.4 miles. After crossing the stream, you’ll be able to witness the 35 feet waterfall pouring into the pool below.

Nearest City: About 16 miles from Madison

Hiking & Other Activities: The Whiteoak Canyon Trail, as mentioned above, would help one access the Upper Whiteoak Falls and the Lower Whiteoak Falls. The swimming holes present here attract visitors to have a refreshing time in the waters.

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3. Great Falls

Great Falls in Northern Virginia

Located within Great Falls Park, this stunning waterfall offers a unique and mesmerizing experience to those visiting it. Being close to the capital city of Washington D.C., it is a tourist hotspot throughout the year. With the changing vistas in each season, you’ll want to come here time and again. Bring your cameras to capture its various spectacular views from the three overlooks. Among these, the second one also offers beautiful views of the Potomac River. However, there is a prohibition on swimming and wading anywhere inside the park.

Nearest City: About 6.5 miles from McLean

Hiking & Other Activities: Hiking is not required since the three observation points can be accessed from the visitor’s center by a 10-minute walk. The first one is a bit rocky and needs easy climbing. The second and third overlooks are wheelchair-friendly.

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4. Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls in Northern Virginia

You’ll find this 70 feet waterfall flowing in several tiers inside Shenandoah National Park. A trail along the stream will lead you to it. The splendid scenic setting makes the falls even more impressive and photogenic. On your way, you might also spot some wildlife like deer and bears. However, please do not bring your dogs here as it isn’t permissible. After soaking in the views, you can visit the Rose River Falls by taking the trail of the same name from here.

Nearest City: About 36 miles from Stanley

Hiking & Other Activities: Less than a mile’s hike along the mossy rock-filled stream will bring you to the falls. Take the trailhead from the parking lot, which then traverses downhill. Hence, it would be helpful if you be cautious while hiking the slippery and rocky path down to the waterfall. Besides this, you can also enjoy picnicking, nature-gazing, wildlife viewing, and hiking other nearby trails.

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5. Rose River Falls

Rose River Falls in Northern Virginia

You can visit Rose River Falls in Shenandoah National Park, located in north-central Virginia, to have a quiet and peaceful time. The 67 feet waterfall cascading with a lush forest backdrop is a treat to the eye. Also, you can swim or wade in the pool below. Many even attempt to jump off the rocks into the waters. The ideal time to see it is during the springtime.

Nearest City: About 68 miles from Stephens City

Hiking & Other Activities: After parking your vehicle in the Fisher Gap parking area, you will have to cross the road to start your hike from the trailhead. It is a 2.4 mile out and back trail, rated as moderately strenuous. For added adventure, follow the Dark Hollow Falls Trail from here.

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Waterfalls in Southern Virginia

1. Falling Spring Falls

Falling Spring Falls in Southern Virginia

The Falling Spring Falls, part of the Alleghany Highlands, drops from a height of about 80 feet over a rock and then cascades into the valley below. The scenic bluffs and mountains with lush greenery all over add to its charm and beauty. It flows year-round, but the fall season is perhaps the best time to come here for a   more colorful and breathtaking sight. Though you cannot go close to it, the views from the fenced area are no less beautiful. You can enjoy a meal here while taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Of course, your dogs, too, can tag along. Nearest City: About 7.5 miles from Covington

Hiking & Other Activities: It’s a short walk from the parking area. Even kids can access it without any problem. In addition, the path is also accessible by wheelchair. Here, you can also take the pleasure of nature-gazing and picnicking in the designated picnic area.

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2. Stiles Falls

Stiles Falls in Southern Virginia

This gorgeous 40 feet waterfall, nestled in the forested area, flows within the private property of Alta Mons. It is open to public access on most days of the year except during the summer and winter camp and in times of unfavorable weather. After a scenic hike, you will be rewarded with an up-close view of the falls. You can also have a refreshing time in the pristine waters.

Nearest City: About 7 miles from Shawsville

Hiking & Other Activities: After parking your vehicle in front of the property, the 3-mile round hike starts. The first part is a gravel trail, mainly flat. But as you approach the falls, it gets steeper. In addition, you’ll have to cross the creek three times. Remember to wear appropriate footwear and follow the white blazes. Dogs are also welcome to come with you.

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3. Apple Orchard Falls

Apple Orchard Falls in Southern Virginia

This waterfall falls in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests area. On your way down towards the base, you’ll see a wooden platform halfway from where you can click some amazing pictures. Then, continue hiking down to get a closer view of it. You can also have a great time splashing waters here. Come any time after a heavy rain, watch it flowing in full vigor. Though a strenuous trail, you will not be disappointed by hiking the picturesque path and finally seeing the lovely falls.

Nearest City: About 42 miles from Lexington

Hiking & Other Activities: From the Blue Ridge Parkway at Sunset Field, you will have to hike by descending the hill to the waterfall. It is a 3-mile moderate trail along streams, and the last half mile requires hiking down the steep and rocky trail. For more scenic vistas and some adventure, you can combine this trail with the Cornelius Creek Trail to form a loop. Also, there are many nearby campsites if you want to spend overnight here.

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4. Dismal Falls

Dismal Falls in Southern Virginia

Fed by the Dismal Creek, this 12 feet waterfall plunging into a whirlpool is nothing close to its name. Once you reach here, you can have a relaxing time under a shady tree or sit on a flat rock and dip your feet in the cold waters. The pool is deep enough to swim in it too. Overall it’s pretty impressive to watch the waterfalls tumble over the stair-like formation of the rocky ledges.

If you want to enjoy some more activities, remember to carry your fishing rods and reels to catch some rainbow trout in the nearby Dismal Creek.

Nearest City: 22 miles from Pearisburg

Hiking & Other Activities: It is a short but steep walk down the hill, and anyone can access this trail. You can also indulge in various other fun-filled activities like picnicking, fishing, sightseeing, and even camping in the nearby campground.

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5. Devil’s Bathtub

Devil’s Bathtub in Southern Virginia

Devil’s Bathtub, a true gem in southwest Virginia, is a natural swimming hole at the end of a pretty little waterfall. Its blue-green waters and picturesque forest setting make it a favorite summer spot for many. However, reaching it is not that easy as you need to hike a challenging rocky trail. But, once you’ve accessed it, you’ll never regret the strenuous journey. To avoid the crowd, you can consider coming here on the weekdays. If you are brave enough to plunge into the icy cold waters, you can try it to cool off the summer heat.

Nearest City: About 15 miles from Duffield

Hiking & Other Activities: This trail is for the avid hikers seeking a backcountry hiking experience. It is a 7-mile round trip, and you need to be prepared to soak your feet in the numerous creeks and streams that you’ll pass. In addition, you’ll have to climb and scramble over rocks and boulders to the spot.

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6. Straight Branch Falls

Straight Branch Falls

This waterfall is right next to the roadside, yet many have not known about it. You can hear its pouring sound even before seeing it. Though it flows from a mere height of about 20 feet, it is a scenic one. With so many viewpoints, you can capture it on your camera from different angles.

Hikers and visitors often link the trail with Creeker Trail or Appalachian Trail to get breathtaking views of the glistening streams flowing down the mountains.

Nearest City: About 4 miles from Damascus

Hiking & Other Activities: It’s a short trail with scenic overlooks all the way. Also, you can rent a bike from the nearby town of Damascus and access the trail and Creeker Trail.

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7. Little Stoney Creek Falls

Little Stoney Creek Falls in Southern Virginia

Little Stoney Creek Falls is a quaint one flowing from 24 feet along with two other smaller drops. The surrounding wooded area is home to many songbirds. Thrushes and warblers also frequent here in springs and falls. After hiking to the falls, you can enjoy a little picnic here while admiring the scenic landscape.

Nearest City: 11.5 miles from Dungannon

Hiking & Other Activities: It’s a 3-mile strenuous hike requiring climbing over or around rocks and boulders. The views, however, are sure to make your hike less weary. You can enjoy nature-gazing, birdwatching, and picnicking here.

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8. Cabin Creek Trail Falls

Cabin Creek Trail Falls in Southern Virginia

This waterfall is in Grayson Highlands State Park in southwest Virginia. Whether you are above the falls or at its base, you’ll get equally amazing views from all angles. The neighboring and towering Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain offer additional views. If visiting in summer or springtime, you’ll get to see colorful wildflowers blooming along the trail. You can also enjoy trout fishing in the nearby Cabin Creek.

Nearest City: About 18 miles from Troutdale

Hiking & Other Activities: The moderately strenuous trail is about 2 miles long. It meanders along the creek, and the wildflowers and rhododendron plants offer beautiful vistas. You can park your cars at Massie Gap. There are other nearby trails to hike and campgrounds to spend overnight within the state park.

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9. Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls in Southern Virginia

Cascade Falls is one of the state’s awe-inspiring waterfalls tumbling dramatically into the pool below from a height of about 70 feet. There are two trails to the falls- the left side of the stream is the upper trail, and the right one is the lower. You can sit on the stone benches or on a boulder to enjoy the views. The waters are too cold for swimming, but you can take a quick plunge into it if you cannot resist. However, be aware of the strong currents of the water.

Nearest City: About 3.5 miles from Pembroke

Hiking & Other Activities: It is a 2-mile hike from the parking lot. You can take the lower trail, which is a longer and much strenuous one but has scenic views all along. While returning, take the upper trail for a much easier hike down the hill. Swimming, nature-gazing, and picnicking are the other activities that you would love to do here. You will have to spend $3 to park your car in the parking lot.

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Waterfalls in Central Virginia

1. Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls in Central Virginia

This spectacular waterfall in George Washington Forest’s Glenwood and Pedlar Ranger District is one of the most visited. From a height of 60 feet over a rock cliff, it flows in multiple sections before joining the creek below. Various ferns and wildflowers growing in the surroundings enhance its beauty. You can also have fun taking a shower at the base. There are many overlooks along the trail offering magnificent views of the falls from different angles. One of them also offers mesmerizing views of the Tye River Valley.

Nearest City: 4.5 miles from Montebello

Hiking & Other Activities: It is a 2.5-mile loop to the falls, rated between moderate and difficult. You’ll find the trailhead from the parking lot at the back of the campground’s entry point.

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Waterfalls in Western Virginia

1. Blue Suck Falls

Blue Suck Falls in Western Virginia

This waterfall is a part of Douthat State Park in west-central Virginia. It is not a tall one, but the sights and sounds of the forest scenery make it a decent one. The trail up to the falls offers views of the greenery and also glimpses of Douthat Lake. You can sit on the stone bench in front of the falls while dipping your feet in the waters. Early summer and spring is the best time to visit here as you can see it flowing in different cascades. If you have enough energy and wish to explore further, do not miss hiking to the Tuscarora Overlook. It is about a mile from here, but the sweeping views of the surrounding valleys and mountains are worth it.

Nearest City: 16.5 miles from Covington

Hiking & Other Activities: It is about 6 miles out and back hike to the Blue Suck Falls. Add 2 miles more if you’re planning to hike to Tuscarora Overlook. The overall hike is a difficult one as it is steep and rocky. Also, you will need to cross several creeks and streams.

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TOP PICKS

Best Waterfalls for Hiking: Devil’s Bathtub, Dark Hollow Falls, Cabin Creek Trail Falls

Best Waterfalls for Swimming: Devil’s Bathtub, Dismal Falls, Whiteoak Canyon

Best Waterfalls for Camping: Crabtree Falls, Apple Orchard Falls, Dismal Falls

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